Vancouver shutters Tim Hortons store for failing to follow COVID-19 orders
Published Friday, March 27, 2020 8:07PM PDT Last Updated Saturday, March 28, 2020 7:26PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- The City of Vancouver has forced a Tim Hortons to close temporarily after the establishment allegedly failed to follow the city's COVID-19 orders.
The city announced Friday that it had suspended the business licence of the Tim Hortons at 108 West Pender St. after visiting the restaurant "on four different occasions" and issuing "several warnings."
The suspension is "due to violations of the orders of the provincial health officer and the City of Vancouver that limit the number of persons allowed in a restaurant and which restrict restaurants to take-out and delivery service," the city said.
Failing to comply with these orders is considered "gross misconduct," according to the city. The shop's business licence was suspended on Thursday, and the suspension will be in effect for three days.
On Saturday, Tim Hortons issued a statement addressing the situation. The chain said it has worked with its 1,500 store owners across Canada to put measures in place to promote "contactless procedures" among staff and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tim Hortons called the situation at the Vancouver store "an unfortunate isolated incident in a very challenging neighbourhood."
"In this particular case in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, the bylaw officer said there was an additional person in the restaurant exceeding local guidelines – 11 not 10 people," the company said. "The restaurant owner works diligently to serve the guests who frequent her store who often have challenging social needs."
Tim Hortons said management at the Vancouver location has worked with bylaw officers to taped boxes on the floor indicating where customers should stand, and will seek police assistance, if necessary, to comply with the 10-person rule when the restaurant reopens on Monday.
The Tim Hortons closure is the most notable of the city's efforts to enforce its new bylaws and provincial health orders aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus in B.C.
City inspectors have visited nearly 7,000 facilities since March 20, but so far no fines have been issued for violating the city's COVID-19 bylaws.
Individuals and businesses found to be in violation of a city order during the city's ongoing state of emergency can be fined up to $50,000.
"The city is pleased to see how responsive restaurant owners have been to date and thanks the vast majority of businesses that are taking the directions from the city and public health officials seriously," the city said in a release.
Of the visits inspectors have conducted so far, 5,800 have been to restaurants and 1,000 have been to personal service facilities - such as salons and tattoo parlours - which were ordered closed by the provincial health officer last week.
The city also also said it has received 69 complaints about restaurants and 11 about personal service establishments on its 311 line.